Bacchus in Tuscany: a dithyrambic poem by Francesco Redi


The conqueror of the East, the God of Wine,
Taking his rounds divine,
Pitch’d his blithe sojourn on the Tuscan hills;
And where the imperial seat
First feels the morning heat,
Lo, on the lawn, with May-time white and red,
He sat with Ariadne on a day,
And as he sang, and as he quaff’d away,
He kiss’d his charmer first, and thus he said:
Dearest, if one’s vital tide
Ran not with the grape’s beside,

What would life be (short of Cupid ?)
Much too short, and far too stupid.
You see the beam here from the sky
That tips the goblet in mine eye;
Vines are nets that catch such food,
And turn them into sparkling blood.
Come then—in the beverage bold
Let’s renew us and grow muscular;
And for those who’re getting old,
Glasses get of size majuscular:
And in dancing and in feasting,
Quips, and cranks, and worlds of jesting,
Let us, with a laughing eye,
See the old boy Time go by,
Who with his eternal sums
Whirls his brains and wastes his thumbs.
Away with thinking! miles with care!
Hallo, you knaves! the goblets there.

Gods—my life, what glorious claret!
Blessed be the ground that bare it!
‘Tis Avignon. Don’t say “a flask of it,”
Into my soul I pour a cask of it!
Artiminos finer still,
Under a tun there’s no having one’s fill:
A tun! a tun!
The deed is done.
And now, while my lungs are swimming at will
All in a bath so noble and sweet,
A god though I be,
I too, I too have my deity;
And to thee, Ariadne, I consecrate
The tun, and the flask,
And the funnel and cask.
And abus’d,
And all mercy refus’d,
Be he who first dared upon Lecore’s plain
To take my green children and plant them in pain.
The goats and the cattle
Get into the bowers;
And sleets with a rattle
Come trampling in showers.
But lauded,
With laurels rewarded,
Be the hero who first in the vineyards divine,
Of Petrarch and Castello
Planted first the Moscadello.
Now we’re here in mirth and clover,
Quaff this jewel of a wine;
It comes of a delicious vine
That makes one live twice over.
Drink it, Ariadne mine,
And sweet as you are,
‘Twill make you so sweet, so perfect and fair,
You’ll be Venus at her best,
Venus Venusissimest.

Hah! Montalcino. I know it well,—
The lovely little Muscadel;
A very lady-like little treat,
But something, for me, too gentle and sweet:
I pour out a glass
For the make and the grace;
But a third,—no—a third, it cannot have place:
Wine like this
A bijou is
(I designed it) for the festals
Of the grave composed Vestals,—
Ladies, who in cloistered quires
Feed and keep alive chaste fires.
Wine like this
A bijou is
For your trim Parisian dames:

And for those
Of the lily and rose,
Who rejoice the banks of the Thames.
The Pisciancis of Cotone,
That gets Scarlatti so much money,
I leave for the weak heads of those
Who know not a thing when its under their nose.
Pisciavello of Brasciano
Also hath too much piano:
Nerveless, colourless, and sickly,
Oversweet, it cloys too quickly.
Pray let the learned Pignatelli
Upon this head enlighten the silly.
If plebeian home must pet it,
Why,—for God’s sake, let it.
Ciccio d’Andrea himself one day,
‘Mid his thunders of eloquence bursting away,
Sweet in his gravity,
Fierce in his suavity,
Dared in my own proper presence to talk
Of that stuff of Aversa, half acid and chalk,
Which, whether it’s verjuice, or whether it’s wine,
Far surpasses, I own, any science of mine.
Let him indulge in his strange tipples
With his proud friend, Fasano there, at Naples,
Who with a horrible impiety
Swore he could judge of wines as well as I.
So daring has that bold blasphemer grown,
He now pretends to ride my golden throne,
And taking up my triumphs, rolls along
The fair Sebetus with a fiery song;
Pampering, besides, those laurels that he wears
With vines that fatten in those genial airs;
And then he maddens, and against e’en me
A Thyrsus shakes on high, and threats his deity:
But I withhold at present, and endure him:
Phoebus and Pallas from mine ire secure him.
One day perhaps, on the Sebetus, I
Will elevate a throne of luxury;
And then he will be humbled, and will come,
Offering devoutly, to avert his doom,
Ischia’s and Posilippo’s noble Greek;
And then perhaps I shall not scorn to make
Peace with him, and will booze like Hans and Herman
After the usage German:
And ‘midst our bellying bottles and vast flasks
There shall be present at our tasks
For lofty arbiter (and witness gay too)
My gentle Marquis there of Oliveto.

Meanwhile upon the Arno here,
Lo, of Pescia’s Buriano,
Trebbiano, Colombano.
I drink bumpers, rich and clear.
“Tis the true old Aurum Potabile,
Gilding life when it wears shabbily
Helen’s old Nepenthe ’tis,
That in the drinking
Swallowed thinking,
And was the receipt for bliss.
Thence it is, that ever and aye,
When he doth philosophize,
Good old glorious Rucellai
Hath it for light unto his eyes;
He lifteth it, and by the shine
Well discerneth things divine;
Atoms with their airy justles,
And all manner of corpuscles,
And, as through a chrystal sky-light
How morning differeth from evening twilight.
And further telleth us the reason why go Some stars with such a lazy light,
and some with a vertigo.
Oh how widely wandereth he,
Who in the search of verity
Keeps aloof from glorious wine!
Lo the knowledge it bringeth to me!
For Barbarossa, this wine so bright,
With its rich red look and its strawberry light,
So invites me,
And so delights me,
I should infallibly quench my inside with it,
Had not Hippocrates
And old Andromachus
Strictly forbidden it
And loudly chidden it,
So many stomachs have sicken’d and died with it.
Yet discordant as it is,
Two good biggins will come not amiss;
Because I know, while I’m drinking them down,
What is the finish and what is the crown.
A cup of good Corsican
Does it at once;
Or a cup of old Spanish
Is neat for the nonce:
Quackish resources are things for a dunce.
Cups of Chocolate,
Aye, or tea,
Are not medicines
Made for me.
I would sooner take to poison,
Than a single cup set eyes on
Of that bitter and guilty stuff ye
Talk of by the name of Coffee.
Let the Arabs and the Turks
Count it ‘mongst their cruel works:
Foe of mankind, black and turbid,
Let the throats of slaves absorb it.
Down in Tartarus,
Down in Erebus,
Twas the detestable Fifty invented it;
The Furies then took it
To grind and to cook it,
And to Proserpine all three presented it.
If the Mussulman in Asia
Boats on a beverage so unseemly,
I differ with the man extremely.
No dotards are they, but very wise,
Those Etrurian jolly boys,
Who down their pleasant palates roll
That fair delighter of the fancy,
Malvagia of Montegonzi,
Rapturous drowner of the soul,
When I feel it gurgling murmuring
Down my throat and my sesophagus,
Something/ an I know not what,
Strangely tickleth my sarcophagus;
Something easy of perception,
But by no means of description.

I deny not there’s a merit
And odorous spirit
In the liquid Cretan amber:
But t’would sooner see one burst
Than condescend to quench one’s thirst:
Malvagia, willing creature,
Hath a much genteeler nature:
And yet were this same haughty stock
But taken from its native rock,
And bred politely on the Tuscan hills,
You’d see it lay aside
It’s Cretan harshness and its pride,
And in a land where drinking’s understood, Win the true honors of a gentle blood.
There’s a squalid thing, call’d beer :—
The man whose lips that thing comes near
Swiftly dies; or falling foolish,
Grows, at forty, old and owlish.
She that in the ground would hide her,
Let her take to English cyder:
He who’d have his death come quicker,
Any other northern liquor.
Those Norwegians and those Laps
Have extraordinary taps:
Those Laps especially have strange fancies:
To see them drink,
I verily think
Would make me lose my senses.
But a truce to such vile subjects,
With their impious, shocking objects.
Let me purify my mouth
In an holy cup o’ the south;
In a golden pitcher let me
Head and ears for comfort get me,
And drink of the wine of the vine benign,
That sparkles warm in Sansovine;
Or of that vermilion charmer
And heart-warmer,
Which brought up in Tregonzano
An old stony giggiano,
Blooms so bright and lifts the head so
Of the toasters of Arezzo.
T’will be haply still more up,
Sparkling, piquant, quick i’ the cup,
If, O page, adroit and steady,
In thy tuck’d-up choral surplice,
Thou infusest that Albano,
That Vaiano,
Which engoldens and empurples
In the grounds there of my Redi.
Manna from heaven upon thy tresses rain,
Thou gentle vineyard, whence this nectar floats
May every vine, in every season, gain
New boughs, new leaves, new blossoms, and new fruits:
May streams of milk, a new and dulcet strain,
Placidly bathe thy pebbles and thy roots;
Nor lingering frost, nor showers that pour amain,
Shed thy green hairs nor fright thy tender shoots:
And may thy master, when for age he’s crooked,
Be able to drink ofthee by the bucket!
Could the lady of Tithonus
Pledge but once her grey beard old
In as vast a tub of stone as
A becoming draught could hold.
That old worthy there above
Would renew his age of love

Meanwhile let’s renew our drinking;
But with what fresh wine, and glorious,
Shall our beaded brims be winking,
For an echoing toast victorious?
You know Lamporecchio, the castle renown’d
For the gardener so dumb, whose works did
abound; There’s a topaz they make there; pray let it go round.
Serve, serve me a dozen,
But let it be frozen;
Let it be frozen, and finished with ice,
And see that the ice be as virginly nice,
As the coldest that whistles from wintery skies.
Coolers and cellarets, chrystal with snows,
Should always hold bottles in ready repose.
Snow is good liquor’s fifth element;
No compound without it can give content;

For weak is the brain, and I hereby scout it,
That thinks in hot weather to drink without it.
Bring me heaps from the shady valley:
Bring me heaps
Of all that sleeps
On every Tillage hill and alley.
Hold there, you satyrs,
Your chuffs and your chatters,
And bring me ice duly, and bring it me doubly,
Out of the grotto of Monte di Boboli.
With axes and pickaxes,
Hammers and rammers,
Thump it and hit it me, ,
Crack it and crash it me,
Hew it and split it me,
Pound it and smash it me,
Till the whole mass (for I’m dead dry, I think)
Turns to a cold, fit to freshen my drink.
If with hot wine we insack us,
Say our name’s not Bacchus.
If we taste the weight of a button,
Say we’re a glutton.
He who, when he first wrote verses,
Had the graces by his side,
Then at rhymers’ evil courses
Shook his thunders far and wide,
(For his great heart rose, and burn’d,
Till his words to thunder turn’d)
He, I say, Menzini, he,
The marvellous and the masterly,
Whom the leaves of Phoebus crown,
Alterable Anacreon,—
He shall give me, if I do it
Gall of the satiric poet,
Gall from out his blackest well,
Shuddering, unescapeable.
But if still, as I ought to do,
I love any wine iced through and through,
If I will have it (and none beside)
He that reigns in Pindus then,
Visible Phoebus among men,
Filicaia, shall exalt
Me above the starry vault;
While the other swans divine,
Who swim with their proud hearts in wine,
And make their laurel groves resound
With the names of the laurel-crown’d,
All shall sing, till our goblets ring,
Long live Bacchus our glorious King!
Evoe! let them roar away!
Evoe! let the lords of wit
Rise and echo, where they sit,
Where they sit enthroned each, .
Arbiters of sovereign speech,
Under the great Tuscan dame,
Who sifts the flower and gives it fame.
Let the shout by Segni be
Registered immortally,
And dispatched by a courier
A monsieur I’ Abbe Regnier.

What wine is that I see? Ah,
Bright as a John Dory:
It should be Malvagia,
Trebbia’s praise and glory.
It is, i’faith, it is:
Push it nearer, pr’ithee;
And let me, thou fair bliss,
Fill this magnum with thee.
I’faith, it’s a good wine,
And much agrees with

Here’s a health to thee and thy line,
Prince of Tuscany.
Before I speak of ihee, Prince bold and sage,
I wash my lips with this illustrious wine,
Which, like thyself, came upon this our age,
Breathing a gentle suavity divine.
Hearken, great Cosmo. Heav’n has promis’d thee
Here, down on earth, eternity of glory;
And these, my oracular words, thine eyes may see,
Written already in immortal story.
When thou shalt leave us to return to Heav’n,
Laden with mighty deeds, and full of years,
To thine illustrious planet it is given
To roll around Jupiter, clear, grand, and even,
Flushing the brilliant Medicean stars;
And Jupiter himself, glad of thy sight,
Shall shew a more distinUuish’d orb, and affabter delight.
To the sound of the cymbal,
And sound of the crotalus,
Girt with your Nebrides,
Ho, ye Bassarides,
Up, up, and mingle me
Cups of that purple grape,
Which, when ye grapple, ye
Bless Monterappoli.
Then, while I irrigate
These my dry viscera,
For they burn inwardly,
Let my Fauns cleverly
Cool my hot head with their
Garlands of pampanus.
Then to the crash of your
Pipes and your kettle-drums,
Let me have sung to me.
Roar’d to me, rung to me,
Catches and love songs
Of wonderful mystery;
While the drunk Msenades,
And glad Egipani,
To the rude rapture and mystical wording
Bear a loud burden.

From the hill before us
Let the villagers raise o’er us
Clappings to our chorus;
And all around resound
Talabalacs, tamburins, and horns,
And pipes, and bagpipes,’ and the things you
know boys,
That cry out Ho-boys
While with a hundred kits about their ears,
A hundred little rustic foresters
Strum, as they ought to do, the Dabbuda,
And sing us, and dance us, the Bombababeu
And if in your singing it,
Dancing and flinging it,

Any of ye tire awhile,
And become savage for
Greedy-great thirst mess,
Down on the grass again,
Let the feast flow again,
Falderallalling it
With quips and triple rhymes,
Motetts and Couplets,
Sonnets and Canticles;
Then for the pretty plays
Of Flowers and What Flowers;
And ever and always
We’ll quaff at our intervals
Cups of that purple grape,
Which when ye grapple, ye
Bkss Monterappoli.
Aye, and we’ll marry it
With the sweet Mammolo,

Which from the wine press comes sparkling, and rushes,
In bottles and cellars to hide its young blushes,
What time ripe Autumn, in the flush o’ the sun,
Meets his friend Magalotti at the fountain,
The very fountain, and the very stone,
At which old Jason christened his lone mountain.

This well of a goblet, so round and so long,
So full of wine, so gallant and strong,
That it draws one’s teeth in its frolics and freaks
And squeezes the tears from the sides of one’s cheeks,
Like a torrent it comes, all swollen and swift,
And fills one’s throat like a mountain rift,
And dashes so headlong, and plays such pranks,
It almost threatens to burst the banks.
No wonder; for down from the heights it came,
Where the Fiesolan Atlas, of hoary fame,

Basks his strength in the blaze of noon,
And warms his old sides with the toasting sun.
Long live Fiesole, green old name!
And with his long life to thy sylvan fame,
Lovely Maiano, lord of dells,
Where my gentle Salviati dwells.
Many a time and oft doth he
Crown me with bumpers full fervently,
And I, in return, preserve him still
From every crude and importunate ill.
I keep by my side,
For my joy and my pride,
That gallant in chief of his royal cellar
Val di Marina, the blithe care-killer;
But with the wine yclept Val di Botte,
Day and night I could flout me the gouty.
Precious it is I know, in the eyes
Of the masters, the masters, of those who are wise.
A glass of it brimming, a full-flowing cup,
Goes to my heart, and so lays it up,
That not my Salvini, that book o’ the south,
Could tell it, for all the tongues in his mouth.
If Maggi the wise, the Milanese wit,
‘Mid their fat Lombard suppers but lighted on it,
Even the people grossly coenaculous,
Over a bumper would find him miraculous.
Maggi, whatever his readers may think,
Puts no faith in Hippocrene drink;
No faith in that lying-tongued water has he,
Nor goes for his crown to a sapless tree.
For other paths are his, far loftier ways:
He opens towards heav’n a road of roads,
Rare unto mortal foot, and only pays
His golden song to heroes and to gods.

And truly most heroic were his praise,
If turning from his Lesmian, like a Cruscan,
He took to drinking Tuscan.
Drawn by the odour, won by the sweet body,
I see another leave his herds at Lodi,
And foot to foot with him sit to drink,
With plumpy cheeks, and pink, as blithe as any,
The shepherd of Lemene;
Ev’n him I say, who ere he rank’d with men,
On bays and beeches carved, with happy stroke,
The strifes of the great Macaron; and then
The dotage of the boy over the brook.
And now he writeth in his riper years
Holier and lovelier things in starry characters.
But when he seats himself
Under an oak,
To the sound of his piping,
He spins me off pastorals,
And maketh eminent,
Lo! the red pride of that fair hill of his,
Whose foot the fond Lambro takes round with a
kiss; Even, I say, the hill of Colombano,
Where the vines, with their twisting legs,
Instead of elms, go making love to figs.

If any body doesn’t like Vernaccia,
I mean the sort that’s made in Pietrafitta,
Let him fly
My violent eye;
I curse him, clean, through all the Alpha-beta.
I fine him, furthermore, for drink, alway
Brozzi, Quaracchi, and Peretola:
And for his shame and for his spite,
I think it right
To order him to wear that stupid sweet,
A crown of beet;
And on the palfrey of Silenus old …
I bid them set him the wrong way, and ride him
While, all the way beside him …
A little insolent Satyr
Keeps an inveterate clatter
Hard on his back—videlicet, doth hide him.
Then let there be the worst of places found for him,
And all the boys got round for him,
And in his ears, till his whole spirit be gored
The whole abuse of all the vintage poured.
On Antinoro’s lofty-rising hill
(Yonder, that has its name from Roses)
How could I sit! how could I sit, and fill
Goblets bright as ever blush’d
From the black stones of the Canajuol crush’d:
How it spins from a long neck out,
Leaps, and foams, and flashes about!
When I taste it, when I try it
(Other lovely wines being by it,)
In my bosom it stirs, God wot,
Something—an I know not what—
But a little stirring fire,
Either delight, or else desire.
Tis desire, to my thinking;
Yes, a new desire of drinking:
Something which the more one swallows,
Recommends the more that follows.
Pour then, pour, companions mine,
And in the deluge of mighty wine
Plunge with me, with cup and with can,
Ye merry shapes of Pan,
Ye furnishers of philosophic simile,
The goatibeardihornyfooted family.
Pour away, pour away,
Fill your gasping clay
With a pelting shower of wine;
Such as is sold
By the Cavalier bold
At the deluge, that mighty sign.
He sells it, and all
To buy scents withal,
So fondly thinks he, in his perfumery,
A scent to discover, that shall be so fine,
As to rival the scent of the mighty wine.
A thousand scents inventeth he,
With fans and small upholstery;
He makes very sweet perfumes,
And fumigations for your rooms;
He makes powderets,
He makes odourets,
And all for certain marvellously;
But never shall he find out, minions mine,
A scent to match the mighty scent of wine.
From the summits of Peru,
From the forests of Tolu,
Let him lay
(I’ll be bold to say)
A thousand drugs in, and more too,
Yet never shall he find out, Airy mine,
A scent to match the mighty scent of wine.
Smell, Ariadne: this is Ambra wine:
Oh what a manly, what a vital scent!
Tis of itself a nourishment
To the heart, and to the brain above it;
But what is more, the lips, the lips, boys, love it.
This fine Pumino here
Smacks a little of the austere;
‘Twere no respect to Bartlemytide
Not to have it at one’s side;
No shame I feel to have it so near,
For shame it were to feel so much pride,
And leave it solely to the bumpkins,
To drink it at its natural time of pumpkins.
Yet every wine that hight
Pumino, hath no right
To take its place at one’s round table
I only do admit
That gallant race of it,
Which bears Albizis noble arms and label;
And which, descended of a chosen stock,
Keepeth the mind awake and clear from any sordid smoke,
That cask ye lately broke.
On which a judgment I reveal,
From which lieth no appeal.—
But hold; another beaker,
To make me a fit speaker!—
And now, Silenus, lend thy lolling ears
Who will believe that hears?
In deep Gualfonda’s lower deep, there lies
A garden for blest eyes;
A garden and a palace; the rich hold
Of great Riccardi, where he lives in gold.
Out of that garden with its billion-trillion
Of laughing vines, there comes—such a vermillion!
Verily it might face ‘fore all the county,
The gallant carbuncle of Mezzomonte:
And yet, ’tis very well known, I sometimes go
To Mezzomonte for a week or so,
And take my fill, upon the greeny grass,
Of that red laugher through the lifted glass,—
That laugher red, that liquid carbuncle,
Rich with its cordial twinkle,
That gem, which fits e’en the Corsini’s worth,
Gem of the Arno, and delight o’the earth.
The ruby dew that stills
Upon Valdarno’s hills,
Touches the sense with odour so divine,
That not the violet,
With lips with morning wet,
Utters such sweetness from her little shrine.
When I drink of it, I rise
Over the hill that makes poets wise,
And in my voice and in my song,
Grow so sweet and grow so strong,
I challenge Phoebus with his delphic eyes.
Give me then, from a golden measure,
The ruby that is my treasure, my treasure;
And like to the lark that goes maddening above,
I’ll sing songs of love!
Songs will I sing more moving and fine,
Than the bubbling and quaffing of Gersole wine.
Then the rote shall go round,
And the cymbals kiss,
And I’ll praise Ariadne,
My beauty, my bliss;
I’ll sing of her tresses,
I’ll sing of her kisses;
Now, now it increases,
The fervour increases,
The fervour, the boiling, and venomous bliss.
The grim god of war and the arrowy boy
Double-gallant me with desperate joy;
Love, love, and a fight!
I must make me a knight;
I must make me thy knight of the bath, fair friend,
A knight of the bathing that knows no end.
An order so noble, a rank so discreet,
Without any handle
For noise or for scandal.
Will give me a seat
With old Jove at his meat;
And thou made immortal, my beauty, my own,
Shall sit where the gods make a crown for his throne.
Let others drink Faleraian, others Tolfa,
Others the blood that wild Vesuvius weeps;
No graceful soul will get him in the gulf o’

Those fiery deluging, and smoking steeps.
To day, methinks, ’twere fitter far, and better, eh?
To taste thy queen, Arcetri;
Thy queen Verdea, sparkling in our glasses,
Like the bright eyes of lasses;
We’ll see which is the prettier smiling varlet.
This, or. Lappeggio with the lip of scarlet.
Hide it in cellars as it will, no matter;
The deeper rogues the sweeter.
Oh boys, this Tuscan land divine
Hath such a natural talent for wine,
We’ll fall, we’ll fall
On the barrels and all;
We’ll fall on the must, we’ll fall on the presses,
We’ll make the boards groan with our grievous caresses;
No measure, I say; no order, but riot;
No waiting, nor cheating; we’ll drink like a Sciot:
Drink, drink, and drink when you’ve done;
Pledge it, and frisk it, every one;
Chirp it and challenge it, swallow it down;
He that’s afraid, is a thief and a clown.
Good wine’s a gentleman;
He speedeth digestion all he can:
No headache hath he, no headache, I say,
For those who talked with him yesterday.
If Signor Bellini, besides his apes,
Would anatomize vines, and anatomize grapes,
He’d see that the heart that makes good wine,
Is made to do good, and very benign.
Ho—ho! tongue of mine,
Be steady to speak of the master’s art,
Who taught thee how, and in what fine part
Of thyself, O tripping tongue,
The tip and the taste of all tasting hung.
Tongue, I must make thee a little less jaunty
In the wine robust that comes from Chianti.
True son of the earth is Chianti wine,
Born on the ground of a gypsy vine;
Bom on the ground for sturdy souls,
And not the rank race of one of your poles:
I should like to see a snake
Get up in August out of a brake,
And fasten with all his teeth and caustic
Upon that sordid villain of a rustic,
Who, to load my Chianti’s haunches
With a parcel of feeble bunches,
Went and tied her to one of these poles,—
Sapless sticks without any souls!
Like a king,
In his conquering,
Chianti wine with his red flag goes
Down to my heart, and down to my toes:
He makes no noise, he beats no drums;
Yet pain and trouble fly as he comes.
And yet a good bottle of Carmignan,
He of the two is your merrier man;
He brings from heav’n such a rain of joy,
I envy not Jove his cups, old boy.
Drink, Ariadne; the grapery
Was the warmest and brownest in Tuscan•
Drink, and whatever they have to say,
Still to the Naiads answer nay;
For mighty folly it were, and a sin,
To drink Carmignan, with water in.

He who drinks water,
I wish to observe,
Gets nothing from me;
He may eat it and starve.

Whether its well, or whether its fountain,
Or whether it comes foaming white from the
I cannot admire it,
Nor ever desire it:

‘Tis a fool, and a madman, and impudent wretch,
Who now will live in a nasty ditch,
And then grown proud, and full of his whims,
Comes playing the devil and cursing his brims,
And swells, and tumbles, and bothers his margins,
And ruins the flowers, although they be virgins.
Moles and piers, were it not for him,
Would last for ever,
If they’re built clever;

But no—its all one with him—sink or swim.
Let the people yclept Mameluke
Praise the Nile without any rebuke;
Let the Spaniards praise the Tagus;
I cannot like either, even for negus.
If any follower of mine
Dares so far to forget his wine,
As to drink an atom of water,
Here’s the hand should devote him to slaughter.
Let your meagre doctorlings
Gather herbs and such like things;
Fellows, that with streams and stiUs
Think to cure all sorts of ills.
I’ve no faith in their washery,
Nor think it worth a glance of my eye:
Yes, I laugh at them for that matter,
To think how they, with their heaps of water,
Petrify their sculls profound,
And make ’em all so thick and so round,
That Viviani, with all his mathematics,
Would fail to square the circle of their attics.
Away with all water, Wherever I come;
I forbid it ye, gentlemen,
All and some;
Lemonade water,
Jessamine water,
Our tavern knows none of ’em,
Water’s a hum.
Jessamine makes a pretty crown;
But as a drink, ’twill never go down.
All your hydromels and flips
Come not near these prudent lips.
All your sippings and sherbets,
And a thousand such pretty sweets,
Let your mincing- ladies take ’em,
And fops whose little fingers ache’em.
Wine! Wine! is your only drink;
Grief never dares to look at the brink:
Six times a year to be mad with wine,
I hold it no shame, but a very good sign,
I, for my part, take my can,
Solely to act like a gentleman;
And acting so, I care not, I,
For all the hail and the snow in the sky;
I never go poking,
And cowering and cloaking,
And wrapping myself from head to foot.
As some people do, with their wigs to boot;
For example, like dry and shivering Redi,
Who looks like a peruk’d old lady.
Hallo! What phenomenon’s this,
That make’s my head turn round?
I’faith, I think it is
A turning of the ground!
Ho, ho, earth,
If that’s your mirth,
It may not, I think, be amiss for me
To leave the earth, and take to the sea.
Hallo there, a boat! a boat!
As large as can float, and stock’d plenteously;
For that’s the ballast, boys, for the salt sea.
Here, here, here,—here’s one of glass;
Yet through a storm it can dance with a lass.
I’ll embark, I will,
For my gentle sport,
And drink as I’m used
Till I settle in Port-
Rock, rock,—wine is my stock,
Wine is my stock, and will bring us to Port.
Row, brothers, row,
We’ll sail and we’ll go,
We’ll all go sailing and rowing to Port-
Ariadne, to For—to Port.
Oh what a thing
Tis for you and for me,
On an evening in spring,.

To sail in the sea.
The little fresh airs
Spread their silver wings,
And o’er the blue pavement
Dance love-makings.

To the tune of the waters, and tremulous glee,
They strike up a dance to people at sea.
Row, brothers, row,
We’ll sail and we’ll go,

We’ll sail and we’ll go, till we settle in Port—
Ariadne, in For—in Port.
Pull away, pull away,
Without drag or delay:
No gallants grow tired, but think it a sport.
To feather their oars till they settle in Port-
Ariadne, in For—in Port.
I’ll give ye a toast,
And then, you know, you,
Arianeeny, my beauty, my queeny,
Shall sing me a little, and play to me too
On the mandola, the coocooroocoo,
The coocooroocoo,
The coocooroocoo,
On the mundola, the coocooroocoo.
A long pu—
A strong pu—

A long pull, and strong pull, and pull altogether!
Gallants and boaters, who know how to feather,
Never get tired, but think it a sport,
To feather their oars, till they settle in port-
Ariadne, in For—Port;
I’ll give thee a toas—

I’ll give thee a toast—and then, you know, you
Shall give me one too.
Araneeny, my quainty, my queeny,
Sing me, you ro—
Sing me, you ro—

Sing me, you rogue, and play to me, do,
On the vio1a, the coocooroocoo,
The coocooroocoo,
The coocooroocoo,
On the viola, the coocooroocoo.
What a horrible tempest arises!
This place is full of surprises;
Hissings and devils all round one’s ears,
Like a crashing of fifty spheres!
Pilot, pilot, old boy, save
Boys of wine from a watery grave.
Alas, what signifies good advice!
The oars are broken, the last rope flies!
Winds grow madder,
The waves are at war;
Lighten the vessel, the lading! the lading!
Splice the main tackle, boys—heave up the mast!
The ship’s agoing to the end of the world—
I think it will e’en go past.
What I say, I don’t very well know;
I’m not an fait at the water:
But it seems—to me—that there’s something the
matter —
A breeze rather stiff or so:
The whirlwinds undoubtedly have come down
To crack the sea and all on the crown:
The billows foam like a world of beer:
And see—the sea-horses! they joust and they
I’m sick!

We’re all of us lost; that’s settled at any rate:
Gods! how my stomach I loathe yet exonerate:—
Bitter! bitter!—and yet ’twas a stock
Precious as ever was put under lock!
I think I feel lighter—
We’re safe! we’re safe!

Look at “the proW there! the golden haired stars!
‘Tis Castor and Pollux—that pair of pairs!
Ah—no—no—no stars are they;
No stars are they, though they be divine,
But a couple of flasks of exquisite wine!
Exquisite wine is your exquisite reason
For settling disorders that come out of season,
For clearing one’s tempests, and brushing apart
Fogs and all that in “the lake of one’s heart.”
My pretty little Satyrs,
In your little hairy tatters,
Whoever is the first now,
To help me quench my thirst now,
Whoever hands me up
Some interminable cup,
Some new unfathom’d goblet,
To bubble it and bubble it,
I’ll hold him for my minion,
And never change my opinion.
I don’t care what it’s made of,
Gold, ivory, or fig;
It may, or it may not, be the richest ever read of,
But let it be the biggest of the big.
A small glass, and thirsty! Be sure never ask it:
Man might as well serve up soup in a basket.
This my broad, and this my high
Bacchanalian butlery
Lodgeth not, nor doth admit
Glasses made with little wit;
Little bits of wouldrbe bottles
Run to seed in strangled throttles.
Such things are for invalids,
Sipping dogs that keep their beds.
As for shallow cups like plates,
Break them upon shallower pates.
Such glassicles,
And vesicles,
And bits of things like icicles,
Are toys and curiosities
For babies and their gaping eyes;
Keepsakes, and small chrystal caddies,
To hold a world of things for ladies;
I don’t mean those who keep their coaches,
But those who make grand foot approaches,
With flower’d gowns, and fine huge broaches.
Tis in a magnum’s world alone
The graces have room to sport and be known.
Fill, fill, let us all have our will:
But with what, with what, boys, shall we fill?
Sweet Ariadne—no, not that one,—ah no;
Fill me the manna of Montepulciano:
Fill me a magnum, and reach it me.—Gods!
How it slides to my heart by the sweetest of roads!
Oh, how it kisses me, tickles me, bites me!
Oh how my eyes loosen sweetly in tears!
I’m ravished! I’m rapt! lleav’n finds me admissible! Lost in an ecstasy! blinded! invisible!
Hearken, all earth!
We, Bacchus, in the might of our great mirth,
To all who reverence us, and are right thinkers;—
Hear, all ye drinkers!
Give ear, and give faith, to our edict divine—
At these glad sounds,
The Nymphs, in giddy rounds,
Shaking their ivy diadems and grapes,
Echoed the triumph in a thousand shapes.
The Satyrs would have joined them; but alas!
They could’nt; for they lay about the grass,
As drunk as apes.

– Francesco Redi, Bacchus in Tuscany: a dithyrambic poem composed 1825


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